Sep. 17, 2020

HARRISBURG—The House Commerce Committee today passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) to help restauranteurs who have been financially hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic.

House Bill 2615 now moves to the whole House for a vote.

“Few industries have been harmed as much by the shutdowns caused by COVID-19 like the food service industry,” Stephens said. “Even while many retail establishments have been allowed to safely reopen using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, restaurants have been limited on seating capacities, and that limit has devastated restauranteurs and their employees.”

To help save this critical industry and these jobs, House Bill 2615 would dedicate $250 million to a new Small Restaurant Grant Program to assist restaurants impacted by COVID-19.

Eligible restaurants would introduce those with up to 10 locations in Pennsylvania and less than 75 employees that lost at least 50% of their monthly sales in April and May. They would be eligible for up to $25,000 per location to use as working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or the purchase of food and beverage materials for restaurant operations.

Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, Pennsylvania was home to more than 25,000 restaurants, which employed 408,000 people. Of those 408,000 employed in February, 332,000 were laid off or furloughed.

“If we don’t act now, we will permanently lose thousands of jobs,” Stephens said.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster